Sunday 8th March marked International Women’s Day 2020. This year, the theme for the day was equality and empowering people to make choices that promote equality in their lives and for others around them. Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is proud to represent the voice of business in Manchester, and as part of this the Chamber runs several initiatives aimed to engage and create communities for business women in Greater Manchester.
Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is proud to support and champion the voices of business women within its organisation. The Chamber’s workforce is 64% female, the senior management team is 50% female and 41% of the Chamber board are women. From staff to senior management, women are represented in the UK’s largest Chamber of Commerce.
Staff at the Chamber have taken on a variety of paths to success, from those returning to work after maternity leave to early career women who have made the most out of personal development opportunities.
Kerry Pender, Management Information Coordinator, has used the Chamber’s flexible working policy to balance her career and family life.
She said: ‘Without the correct manager flexible working can’t work. Luckily, I have an understanding Manager who appreciates that sometimes I have to fit my hours around family commitments. Working flexibly allows me to work outside of 9-5 to catch up on deadlines without compromising on my family life.’
On building skills and her career path, Kerry said: ‘My career has changed during my time with the Chamber. As well as studying towards becoming a chartered accountant, I am also developing skills in CRM development.
I think for any women trying to pursue any career path, they need to understand what they want from life, what will make them happy, and they need to know it will take hard work to get where they want. Settling back into a working environment after taking time out to start a family can be tough, but you have to keep going to see the eventual rewards.’
Lisa Wroe, Events Manager, has worked at the Chamber for a number of years and has seen a lot of change in the workplace since, she said: ‘ I can definitely see a huge change in the opportunities and roles available for women in the Chamber.
The Management and Board of the Chamber at the time I joined were all male – but gradually it it began to change and many of our member businesses saw their workforces become more equal too. The Chamber has always had a female workforce, but many were in administrative roles initially. With more time executive and management roles have been filled with women, including our first female Chief Executive and first female President.’
On her role at the Chamber Lisa said the following: ‘Event management as a career is a great opportunity. You can learn so much by facing the challenges that event management can bring on a day to day basis and there are many elements to the role from the marketing and promotion of events to the operations and logistics involved. No two days are ever the same and yes it can be stressful at times with long days (and nights!) but to see the successful event completed makes it all worthwhile.’